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Beware scams at tax time

Smishing Attack

Identity Theft And Fraud Complaints, 2013-2016

Source: Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Sentinel Network.

To protect against scams and identity theft:

  • Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Don’t keep forms containing that information in your car, either.
  • Don’t give any business your SSN or ITIN just because someone who claims to represent the company asks. Give such information only when required and when positive who you’re talking to.
  • Check your credit report every 12 months. Stay aware of your credit status and learn quickly about any illegal use of your credit or accounts.
  • Secure personal information in your home.
  • Protect your personal computers with firewalls and anti-spam and anti-virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for your home Internet accounts.
  • Give no personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you initiated the contact and are sure of the recipient.
  • Choose a tax preparer carefully. Most preparers provide excellent service a relative few are unscrupulous. The IRS recommends watching for preparers who try to manipulate or change your income figures or make up deductions to qualify you for tax credits and unusually large refunds.

Tax season brings enough to worry about. Cross identity theft off your list.

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